Where I live, the last week has shown nature’s different extremes. First we saw its wilder side as three storms hit in under a week. With high winds, then heavy rain and dark skies, it seemed winter was still at its worst. Now I sit here writing this in sunshine, with a cloudless sky through the window. Bulbs have started to flower, there are catkins on a hazel bush nearby and I’m hearing more birdsong. Yes, the wind’s still gusty and there may be another storm on the way. But winter’s finally losing its hold.
Sometimes it seems as if everyday weather has more impact on us than it should. The British are famous for talking about weather all the time, but its importance is a lot wider than that. Some people have SAD, and many more find winter dismal, or feel down on wet days. That’s partly because cold, wet weather traps us indoors more, where some people feel bored or lonely. Even if you don’t want to go out though, one look at an overcast sky and your mood can nosedive. What can help? Using bright colours to draw, paint, colour or craft is a stimulus. Listening to lively music makes the day seem more alive. And growing houseplants lets nature in. And I find that going out for a walk when it is cloudy and wet still lifts my mood – and warms me up!
Many people’s anxiety levels soared during the recent storms, fearing storm damage or feeling agitated by the sound of the wind. It’s easy to feel out of control in a storm. Spring sunshine is obviously far more positive – even if you’re indoors, just seeing the sun transforms the day. It’s a tonic. But it can make people feel restless an ddissatisfied and want more in life, to go out or to go away. FOMO (fear of missing out) is usually higher in spring and summertime. And then again, a beautiful spring day can seem bittersweet. I remember one sunny day years ago, going for a walk when I’d just heard that a family friend had finally lost a long battle with cancer. The sunshine that day seemed so sad. So weather impacts on us in all different ways at different times.
Cold and dark sap energy. Yes, winter’s a time of rest and we all need rest for renewal, it just doesn’t feel that welcome at the time. But now as the cold spells get fewer and the evenings get a little lighter every day, spring can be a real boost, a spur to live life. And that can be in small ways, whatever is practical for you. People with agoraphobia may find good weather helps, making going outside seem less of a hurdle. And many people can try varying life in small ways. Maybe this spring you’ll start watching the sparrows on your road, or try listening to a different kind of music, or grow new plants in your garden. Maybe you’ll start drawing or colouring to relax or try a new craft. It’s funny that the tradition of new year resolutions developed, when January really isn’t the best time to feel motivated for change. Spring, on the other hand, could be a different story.
Do you find weather impacts how you feel? Is spring making you think about doing something differently? Share any thoughts in Medley’s Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/359291215486002